AFL Round 7 – Fremantle v Collingwood: FIGJAM Footy

Collingwood is now officially overrated. The team is playing as a group of individuals.  They look slow, discombobulated, maladroit, unaware and for long periods, disinterested. They will be fortunate to play finals in 2013.

I love Bucks, but love can blind one from too many realities. I was expecting long kicking through the corridor, pinpoint disposal by hand and foot and fast open footy on the way to glory and domination. I forgot that we had opponents and it seems that Bucks, the brains trust and most of the team might have overlooked this pesky detail too.

Along comes Ross Lyon and his Dockers. In the first half they teach the Pies a lesson in team play, gang tackling, relentless pressure and the punishment of mistakes. Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantine exposed our slow and cumbersome defence while the triple MMM’s, Mundy, Mayne and Mzungu seem to be at every contest.

At one stage I was channelling the spirit of Harry Collier, who said of Ted Hopkins’ four goals in the 1970 GF: “He shouldn’t have been allowed to kick four goals. Someone should have…well…run into him.” I couldn’t help but mirror these feelings as young Walters ran amok in our defence.

There is no other way to put this: Collingwood have become SOFT.

This side resembles a collection of fops and dandies. Bouffants, body art, dinky little kicks and deft flicks are the trademarks of the Pies so far in 2013. This is FIGJAM footy.

Yes, we’ve had our share of injuries and bad luck. Fremantle were missing Pavlich, Hill and Sandilands, while Griffin went off early with a season-ending knee injury. I shudder to think how badly we would have been beaten had Pavlich been playing. The question of why we have been getting so many injuries has to be asked. I thought these expensive sojourns to Arizona and Utah were supposed to help make the players stronger and more resilient.

There is a place in Abbotsford called Victoria Park that might offer a cheaper and more meaningful alternative in the coming summer. These Pies are too pampered and this is reflected in their play and their general demeanor on and off the field.

The boys always seem to be having a gay old time laughing and pranking on Collingwood TV. Fun and frivolity seem to be the prevailing modes of expression down at the Westpac Centre . Perhaps, too many are still basking in the glory of 2010. The backslapping supporters don’t help the situation by proclaiming players ‘CHAMPEENS’ before their time. FIGJAM fans.

Scott Pendlebury is a voice in the wilderness. While Dale Thomas and Darren Jolly trade perceptions on Media Street, Pendles seems to be genuinely concerned about the direction his football club is taking. Accusing himself and his teammates of ‘cheating’ is as honest an assessment as you’ll get from a footballer. For three quarters, an undermanned Freo showed the Pies what honest footy is all about.

The Pies showed glimpses in the third quarter. The pressure was better and there was more purpose in the play. How they managed to hit the front early in the last was unfathomable. I think it was more about Freo taking a breather and saving themselves for the last stanza. And so it proved. Freo ran out the game with plenty in the tank, while the Magpies continued to back track, switch, dink, chip, pop and caress the ball to avoid any more bruises.

Luke McFarlin did a grand job on Cloke, but Cloke could have made more of his opportunities and the service from the midfield was dismal to say the least. Lynch had a shocker. No impact on the game and too many attacks were coming out of our forward line as the better sides exploit the Q’s lack of leg speed.

The Danni Eid kiss of death has now also claimed Jarryd Blair. Jack Anthony and Paul Medhurst were going alright until Danni fell in love with them. Look what happened to them. Blair now looks and plays like an oompa loompa with a bad bouffant. Please Danni, can’t you fall in love with Jordan Russell this year?

Jolly has the pace of a pregnant camel. He struggles to get to contests as the game wears on. He is finished as an AFL footballer. It will be refreshing to read his confrontational views in the media and I’ll always be grateful to him for 2010, but now he should focus his attention on teaching Witts and Grundy how to take over the mantle in the ruck.

The Pies face Geelong and Sydney in the next fortnight. The natives are feeling the first rustle of restlessness.  The eyes of the legion are turning to that bloke who now coaches Carlton and wondering why he was let go. Eddie will have to do something to appease the torch lit masses who will march down Olympic Boulevard and demand explanations, should we lose our next two games.

Inevitably, they will ask: “What happened to our DYNASTY?!”


FREMANTLE      6.4   9.6   10.7  15.10 (100)                  
COLLINGWOOD     1.2    3.6   9.8  10.13  (73)

Fremantle: Walters 4, Mayne 2, Ballantyne, Mundy, de Boer, Sutcliffe, Mzungu, Pearce, Silvagni, Hannath, Crozier.
Collingwood: Swan 2, Krakouer 2, Dwyer 2, Sidebottom, Blair, Kennedy, Mooney.

Ibbotson, Duffield, McPharlin, Walters, Barlow, Mundy, Suban.
Collingwood: Swan, Reid, D Thomas, Sidebottom, Dwyer, J Thomas, Shaw.

Stephen Hill (quad) replaced in selected side by Cameron Sutcliffe, Griffin (knee).
Collingwood: Clarke (hamstring), Mooney (knee).

Hayden Crozier replaced Jonathon Griffin (knee) in the first quarter.
Collingwood: Caolan Mooney replaced Marty Clarke (hamstring) in the second term.

Reports: TBA

Umpires: Margetts, Mollison, McInerney

Official crowd: 37,214 at Patersons Stadium


Malarkey Medal Votes

3 L.McPharlin

2 M. Walters

1 S. Sidebottom

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.


  1. Tony Robb says

    The Pies are what the Pies are. Trumped little jockies. Sorry wrong lovers tiff That said the Edmeister might like to walk down Olympic Bvd into a room of mirrors as head cheerleader, there is no greater FIGJAMs that that goose

  2. Love it, LB. You more than matched my Woosha/Eagles rants of dissapointment this season.
    “Discombobulated” and “maladroit” in the same sentence. I dips me lid. I love using strange words because of how they sound, with only a vague awareness of their meaning. I have met my match.
    I look forward to Round 22. Thesauruses at thirty paces in the battle for 8th and 9th (if we’re lucky).

  3. John Butler says

    Brutal assessment Phil. Brings more than a chuckle to the heart of any Bluebagger if proven true.

    The Buckley Magpies have been generally notable for the ease that opponents move the ball against them – even average sides. They still have some great players, but the overall effect remains unconvincing when pushed.

    Whilst the Blues presently are fairly unconvincing themselves, Eddie’s ultimate nightmare must remain the thought of Mick coaching Carlton to a flag before Bucks gets his boys over the line. That would take longer to live down than the 1970 GF.

  4. Danielle says

    Gotta love when your team loses on your 21st birthday…. :/
    Lol I disagree with you re Blair. I think he’s going to make it in the top 3 for our b&f this year. Sometimes he’s the only one going for the ball especially in packs.
    Medders left by his own choice though didn’t he?
    And technically the curse was only on Jack bc he’s the only player who’s number I got on my footy jumper, haven’t had the heart to get another number since so my jumper is staying blank lo,.

  5. Paul Daffey says

    Hi Phil,

    I enjoyed it in those distant days of 2009 when you wrote off Mick Malthouse and described the Pies as the Buffalo Girls for their habit of going round the outside.

    What song can you use to descibe Buckley’s boys?

  6. Lord Bogan says

    PB, I think words are a form of solace when you can’t go out and do something about it. In my Gigs ladder I had West Coast and Collingwood at 1 and 2. Still reckon you guys have lots of upside.

    JB, I can see Tony Abbot (surely he’ll follow Carlton) handing the cup to Malthouse next year as the Blues hoist their 17th flag, while we lament on another missed opportunity.

    Danni, happy 21st! Hope you had a great night. You know I’m only joking, but your record in this area is a bit of a concern. Blairy is a good ordinary player against the poor to medium teams and a very ordinary player against the top teams. Yes, he has a go, but his skill level falls to pieces under severe pressure.

    Daff, sometimes I write off the Pies because I become exasperated with the weight of expectation. “The greatest club in the history of the universe” and all that crap that Eddie and co feed the punters. 2 flags in 55 years? Richmond have won 5 in that period and they’ve been shithouse since 1982!

    As for a song. At the moment all that comes to mind is ‘Killing Me Softly’.

  7. To borrow from John, Phil, brutal indeed. But I guess Eddie did promise you a dynasty, didn’t he? Very much enjoyed the read.

  8. Mr Bogan – this is a dismayed scream in the dark. But I feel you might be writing your boys off too soon. Winter hasn’t even started.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Can’t disagree with anything you said Phil. Unfortunately. Still hopeful we can turn it around. Seems to be a lack of on-field discipline with several players at the moment. Pendles has looked like he’s been carrying an injury since the Hawthorn game, lacking half a yard and getting caught a bit which normally rarely happens. Sadly you’re right in your assesment of Jolly, he can’t jump anymore either.
    Harry O seems to escape criticism, he turns the ball over a lot and is regulary beaten one on one. Fantastic player for us in ’09 & ’10, except for the odd game has generally been poor since the flag win in my opinion. To try and end on a positive note, I liked the games by Dwyer and Josh Thomas, Seedsman is developing nicely and Kennedy and Mooney both showed a bit.

  10. Andrew Starkie says

    Philo, Anzac Day was a bit concerning. The Pies looked a bit lacklustre, a word I used for North’s effort last night. Off the boil. And players exchanging cracks at eaxhother in the media can’t be good for a club. Get on the Majak bandwagon.

  11. Lord Bogan says

    Zitter, as a Dogs fan you probably think I come across as being a bit precious, but the Dogs don’t try to delude their fans to the degree Collingwood does.

    Dips, why is it that many Cats fans still lament 2008, even after seeing 3 flags? I really believed that we would be the new Geelong after the 2010 prelim and I wasn’t alone there. So much has changed in 2 and a half years.

    Luke, I like Dwyer and I think he will fit in better when we are more settled. Seedsman, Thomas, Kennedy, even Elliot are still very lightly framed. I don’t understand why Didak isn’t getting a game. Harry is struggling , like Blair, against the good sides who can expose his deficiencies.

    I’m concerned about a lack of penetration and precision from kick ins.
    A lack of run off half back and absolutely no overlap, which was a hallmark of the 2010-11 sides.
    Rucks too easily smashed against good sides.
    Ball coming out of half forward too easily. Very few crumbing goals and an aversion to tackling and general aggression. Lots of blokes on the verge of retiring and the gap between them and the youngsters being too wide to seriously challenge in the next couple of years.
    I rant because I care, otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

  12. The Wrap says

    A good thread. Collingwood aren’t the first team to believe their own publicity. Nor will they be the last. But celebrity has hit this mob under Coach Figjam harder than most. Wallsie gave the Tiges a wake-up call, one that they would have been sure to have had at club level well before Friday’s Age hit the streets. The result was an 8-goal Opening Stanza against Port over there. I’m not privy to what happens along Olympic Boulevard, but I have a suspicion the players will be called to the Oval Office during the week to be reminded that the coach has the full authority of the board invested in him. Because, at his post match I got the distinct impression that Bucks was sick of being ignored. No respect = no more Mr Nice Guy.

    Then again, could the heart of the problem actually be in the Oval Office? And the list is certainly looking a bit tired.

    In the meantime, let’s all sit back and enjoy the comic relief from the Melrose Drive soap opera .

  13. Andrew Else says


    Pregnant camel. I like it

    You’re not the first to get touched up in Perth. Though I’m sure the pies’ interstate record meant your hopes were high.

    Agree re Pendlebury. Very impressive

  14. So many great Buckley (Tim and Jeff) songs too choose from. Here’s something suitably melancholy for the Magpie faithful:
    “I lost myself on a cool damp night
    Gave myself in that misty light
    Was hypnotized by a strange delight
    Under a lilac tree
    I made wine from the lilac tree
    Put my heart in its recipe
    It makes me see what I want to see
    and be what I want to be
    When I think more than I want to think
    Do things I never should do
    I drink much more that I ought to drink”

  15. DBalassone says

    My feeling is that most Pie supporters have been in denial for the last 29 games since the Buckley takeover. The hatred shown to Malthouse is also disappointing – the man won us a flag for godsake. And don’t give me this stuff about him only winning one flag in 12 seasons. Allan Jeans won one flag in 17 years at one stage in his coaching career. People forget Mick took over the worst list in the comp and had them in a GF within 3 seasons.

    As documented in the above thread, since Bucks took over we have become far too easy to score against – particularly on the hop once sides get over our press. Opposition sides waltz in and kick the easiest of goals – often with no Pies in the back 50. The last 4 thrashings vs. Hawthorn epitomise this – all under Buck’s coaching – we go from a brutal low scoring Prelim vs. Hawks in 2011 under Mick… to conceding 20-23 goals everytime we play them. Most sides we play seem to be guaranteed to score 100 points.

    We still have the talent to score quickly, but monumetal lapses in concentration cost us. We can’t seem to put 30-40 minutes of good footy together – let alone 4 quarters. And re injuries, I venture to say our 6 most important players are out there – Cloke, Reid, Swan, Pendlebury, Shaw and the camel Jolly. So no excuses.

  16. After the next fortnight the Pies have a pretty cushy run. Could still win 6 or 7 of their next 9.

  17. DBalassone says

    You’re right Dips, I expect the Pies to win a fair few of those games in the middle of the season – but when it comes to the crunch I think they will struggle against the better sides at the business end of the season. I hope I’m wrong – I reckon we have the talent to match it with thte best. Game plan has to be addressed – I fear we have become a team of downhill skiers.

  18. Lord Bogan says

    “No respect = no more Mr Nice Guy”. I think you have something here Wrapster. Bucks has been forced to dangle the carrot to get some doubters on side. Subsequently, his criticism has been subdued. His patience is wearing thin and he needs to put his stamp on this team asap without compromise.

    Damo, you know I wasn’t a fan of that Carlton coach and I reckon his spectre still looms too profoundly at the club for Bucks to be able to coach as his own man. Too many compromises perhaps. Maybe we need to give Bucks a couple of years to develop a style of football that is his and grow into the role.

    It’s no coincidence that the Pies are playing very similar to how Bucks played in his first couple of years of footy. Brilliant in bursts, poor defensively and way too selfish. FIGJAM Footy. He overcame this to become a true champion. Let’s hope the team can develop along similar lines, but with at least one flag in the timeline.

  19. The big question is. Why on earth should Collingwood, arguably the biggest thing in the world, be forced to travel over to Perth? It’s not only unfair but has cost the AFL a pile of money. Fair fixturing my hat. I’m sick of it. Fix it now Mr Demetriou.

  20. To Les: That smacks of Collingwood favouritism. If Fremantle have to travel interstate every second week, and to Melbourne 5 or 6 times a season, then im sure the “precious” collingwood players can handle one trip to Perth.

  21. Dave Nadel says

    I think that you are writing off Bucks too quickly, Phil. I also think that FIGJAM as a summary of Bucks’ deficiencies hasn’t been relevant for years. I suspect that Buckley is (mostly) getting the best football he could out of the players he has.

    The first problem is the ruck. Slow or not, Jolly still gives some value round the ground, but that is not what he is there for. Josh Fraser was pretty good round the ground. Jolly helped the Pies win a flag in 2010 by dominating the hitouts and I’m not sure that he can do that anymore. Hudson was supposed to give Jolly frequent spells but the club played him on five days turnaround on Anzac Day and no 34 year old ruckman could be a expected to do well under those circumstances. Witts and Grundy were supposed to be able to be given game time this year, but Witts was only given half a game and Grundy has been injured all season.

    The second problem is the shortage of an inside ball extractor. That was supposed to be Ball, who hasn’t been fit for more than a season. Beams stepped up in Ball’s place but he has also been injured all season. Sidebottom has stepped up a bit but his best football is as an outside midfielder. Blair is doing better than you give him credit for, Daisy is coming back to form Seedsman looks promising as does Dwyer and Elliott and Sinclair have their moments. But none of them can replace Ball and Beams.

    The third problem is defence, or more specifically lack of leadership in defence. We have lost Toovey for the year but when Maxwell gets more game time and Johnson returns we will begin to solve that problem.

    I think things will get better. I am not sure there is a solution to the ruck problem this year but the midfield will be as good as Hawthorn and Sydney’s later in the year when Ball and Beams are back. Give Buckley a bit more time and some fit players before you write him off.

  22. Stephen Cooke says

    The commentary following this piece shows the ignorance of Collingwood supporters. The team is clearly divided into Malthouse and Buckley factions. Or so the morons of the media would have you believe. I like to watch the amateurs where there are no factions. We watched the amateurs before heading for a night in the Mornington Peninsula where we enjoyed great wine and discussed the power of Whitlam over good wine and friendship.

    Where was I?

  23. Lord Bogan says

    Dave, I advocated for Buckley to take over as coach as early as 2008. I’m happy to give the man 5 years, but I reckon he has been too much of a good cop to the team’s detriment.

    Just the other day I posted here saying that I’d like to see him coach a full strength side for a month before putting my two bobs worth in.

    Saturday night’s performance was dismal considering the amount of players the Dockers had out. The herringbone chipfest got to me I suppose and I had to vent. As Wayne Carey would say: “If I’ve offended anyone, I apologize.”

  24. Anton Clever says

    The article is probably fairly accurate although it doesn’t give enough recognition of Fremantle’s effort. Fremantle simply outplayed them for almost the entire game, save a third quarter rest whilst preparing for the final stanza.

    Ross Lyon was sensational.

  25. DBalassone says

    You are spot on Anton, Freo were very good – a very exciting team.

    Dave/Phil, I love Bucks too and want to see him succeed, but I can’t help thinking back to the Tony Shaw days: a club legend, whom we all wanted to see succeed. We all know what happened. Supporters can be blinded by club legends returning to the fold to coach – it’s all very romantic, but often ends in tears e.g. Shawry, KB, Vossy, Schimma, etc.

  26. Lord Bogan says

    Anton, Freo were inspiring. Hope you can forgive the skewed perspective as I’m writing as a Collingwood fan. Old habits die hard sometimes!

    Damo, too true mate. Many examples of the golden boys failing as coaches. Peter Knights, Ron Barassi at Melbourne, but he’s had a lot of mates over the years! Ratten, John Devine, Darrel Baldock, Murray Weideman…There’s been a few.

    Am really keen to buy your book of poetry mate. Could you email me and let me know where I can purchase it? Cheers

  27. Dave Nadel says

    Barassi was different. He had great success at two other clubs and then failed at his own club. I have always wondered if that was the reason that Matthews never tried for a coaching position at Hawthorn after his success at Collingwood and Brisbane.

    I think it is unfair to compare Buckley with Tony Shaw. Shaw was a great captain and player and a fine servant of Collingwood Football Club. However he was not and is not a deep thinker about football and most of his special comments on Foxtel and 3AW demonstrated that. Buckley during his year as a commentator showed that he is a talented thinker on football.

    As the son of a coach I suspect Bucks has a very clear idea of what is needed to be a good coach. Last year, Bucks was essentially coaching Mick’s team. He is now developing his own team but injuries, particularly to recruits and rookies are slowing this process down. As I suggested earlier in the thread this may not be our year (although I still think we will finish top four) but I am still confident that Buckley will end up as Premiership Collingwood coach.

  28. DBalassone says

    I agree with you Dave about Tony Shaw. The funny thing is back in 96-97 he was being hailed as a great tactician of the game – in particular I recall David Parkin singing his praises in this regard. I now wonder if this was an ingenious ploy by Parkin to lull the Pies into a false sense of security. The only tactics I can remember by Shawry were (prior to Trent Hotton’s act of thievery):

    1) get Buckley to take the kick out
    2) Bucks to Williams back to Bucks back to Williams back to Bucks, etc
    3) Play as many 5 foot 5 midgets who can’t kick on their opposite side, and;
    4) If you can’t get the ball into your forward 50, take the Rocca brothers off and sit them on the bench for a quarter or two.

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